Inside Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s Love Story

Though they met as Hollywood actors, there was nothing manufactured about President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan’s love for one another. They absolutely doted on each other, which was apparent at events and in interviews.

Take a look back at their glamours love affair.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan | Ronald Reagan Presidental Library/Getty Images

Ronald Reagan took a long time to propose to Nancy Reagan

When the Reagans met in 1949, they were both Hollywood actors. The future president was newly divorced and the president of the Screen Actors Guild. Nancy reached out to him because an actress with her name had been blacklisted amid the McCarthy-era and it was impacting her ability to find work in the industry.

Though they both spoke of having an intense spark when they first met, Reagan would not pop the question for three years. The pair finally wed in 1952. In The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan, the late president wrote,

Beginning in 1951, Nancy Davis seeing the plight of a lonely man who didn’t know how lonely he really was, determined to rescue him from a completely empty life. Refusing to be rebuffed by a certain amount of stupidity on his part she ignored his somewhat slow response. With patience and tenderness she gradually brought the light of understanding to his darkened, obtuse mind and he discovered the joy of loving someone with all his heart

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Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan were obsessed with each other

From the beginning, it was clear that the Reagans were absolutely enamored with one another. This became apparent in the Hellcats of Navy actor’s quest to the Governer’s Mansion and eventually to the White House. He became the then-oldest and first divorced person ever elected president of the United States in 1980 and then again in 1984.

“I was often asked, ‘Is this genuine? Do they really have this kind of bond?’” the late first lady’s former chief of staff James Rosebush told Good Morning America of their obvious adoration of each other“And I said, ‘Oh yes, without question.’”

In fact, when there was an assassination attempt on the president in 1981, the first lady became obsessive about his well being. She often sought out an astrologist to help guide him, she forced him to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and she also shielded him from his own administration if they were causing him grief.

Ronald Regan and Nancy Reagan’s love affair often made others feel isolated

Though their love affair seemed timeless and magical, it could make others feel isolated. “If either of us ever left the room, we both felt lonely,” Nancy wrote. “People don’t always believe this, but it’s true. Filling the loneliness, completing each other — that’s what it still meant to us to be husband and wife.”

The couple’s bond caused a great deal of friction with their daughter Patti Davis. The actor accused her father of being emotionally detached and her mother of being abusive in her 1992 memoir, The Way I See It.

Still for the Reagans, there was only each other. Nancy was her husband’s caretaker until he died in 2004 from Alzheimer’s disease. In 2009, the late first lady told Vanity Fair,

I miss Ronnie an awful lot. I’ve had quite a life, when you stop and think about it. … I’m very lucky. Especially with Ronnie — I was the happiest girl in the world when I became a we. Even in the very beginning, I was always so proud of him. Everything he did. And it wasn’t that I had to force myself. I just was.